Scuba Destinations

 

Jamaica

Scuba diving in Jamaica, home of the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere . . . . .
Overview:

Vanessa Lafaye - shrimpDiscovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494, Jamaica is located to the south of Cuba and to the west of the island of Hispaniola.  Here's the map.

Most of the diving occurs along the north coast at Negril and Montego Bay which is also great; Doctor's Cave beach features one of the most accessible spots on the island.

But one of Jamaica's most famous underwater sites is Port Royal or the 'City that Sank'.  On June 7, 1692, an earthquake struck largely destroying the city and causing two thirds of it to sink into the sea.  It is considered the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere.  Pirates from around the world congregated at Port Royal coming from waters as far away as Madagascar on the far side of Africa.  Several 17th and early 18th century pirate ships are sunk within the harbor and being carefully harvested under controlled conditions by different teams of archaeologists.

What to see:
  • The Throne Room - a 40-foot-wide cavern at 65 feet.  You enter through a crack in the reef (25-30 feet long and about 8 feet wide) at about 40 feet.  This is the place to see sponges. Huge yellow sponges and coral cover the wall from floor to ceiling. The site got its' name from a large elephant ear sponge on the bottom that supposedly looks like a throne.
  • Widowmaker's Cave - probably the most famous dive off of the Montego Bay area. This site got its name from the cave in the James Jones novel, "Go to the Widowmaker".  The cave starts in about 35 feet of water and goes to about 80 feet. You can enter it at 80 feet and slowly rise through the cave to exit through a chimney 10 feet wide and into about 35 feet of water. You can also go in the opposite direction - entering through the chimney and exiting at 80 feet. This dive is for experienced divers only.
  • The wreck of the Kathryn near Ocho Rios - an old WWII Canadian minesweeper. 140 feet long, it sits in 50 feet of water.  You can go into the wheel house which has an open top.
  • Other popular dives include Rock Cliff Reef (for eels), Sharks Reef (nurse sharks) and The Arch (lots red sponges).
Need to know:
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate is requires from travellers over 1 year of age travelling from infected areas.
  • Diving the city of Port Royal requires special permission from the Jamaican government in the the form of a diving permit which is best obtained from local dive operators. Rules regarding this dive site may change, so be sure to check with local operators for the most current information.
Useful stuff:
Language: English
Currency: Jamaican $
Time: GMT - 5
Climate: Tropical
Natural hazards: Hurricanes (July to October)
Diving season: 12 months
Water temperature: Jan to March - 26C/78F
June to October – 28C/82F
Hyperbaric chambers: Discovery Bay Marine Lab Chamber: 876 973-224

Caribbean - Jamaica: Latest User Reviews

he will just leave us in the middle of road  Sun Divers Negril, Jamaica 1 Star Rating Added: 1st June 2014 by k7min
I went to go travel Jamaica for a week on May 1st, 2014. While I was in Jamaica, I searched Sundivers (http://www.sundiversnegril.com) from the Internet and called them to ask about their service. I was able to talk to Christian, the owner, and told him that I was staying at the...
DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!  Total Watersports, Jamaica 1 Star Rating Added: 26th November 2013 by juliepowell
My husband completed his PADI Openwater in July. Despite numerous emails and telephone calls he still has not received his certification. We are now having to pay an additional amount for PADI to investigate it. The diving instruction was also very basic and I was concerned at the time how...
Once again, a great diving experience  Lady G'diver, Jamaica 5 Star Rating Added: 5th May 2013 by jocrombie
This is our second visit for a series of dives with Lady Gdiver and again we had a fantastic experience. Jan and Steve are so helpful and friendly and put us back at ease as it has been quite a while since our last dive. We saw spotted eagle rays...
Nice resort, average diving, OK for beginners  Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica 3 Star Rating Added: 9th April 2013 by NorfolkDiver
We stayed at Sandals Carlyle but part of the Sandals attraction is that you can use the facilities at the other Sandals resorts - and the dive centre was at the Montego Bay so I headed there most days. Diving was included in the free watersports, so I expected it to...
Brilliant  Lady G'diver, Jamaica 5 Star Rating Added: 26th April 2012 by jocrombie
We dived with both Jan and Steve while on holiday in Port Antonio in April 2012. We did a total of 9 dives, each one a very different experience. We had only recently done our open water and they guided us through our advanced leaving us with much more confidence...
Scuba diving is not recommended at all in Montego Bay  Dressel Divers Club - Jamaica, Jamaica 4 Star Rating Added: 19th December 2011 by haiyenlam
Scuba diving is not recommended at all in Montego Bay, unless you want to get you PADI license as there's not much to see. I barely saw any fish and were tiny at the size of my finger. Not much colour or anything. There's way more fish to see in...
Great place  Sandals Whitehouse, Jamaica 4 Star Rating Added: 12th August 2011 by TRoss
My wife and I honeymooned at Sandals Whitehouse earlier this summer. While the weather was not so great, the dive operation was. Roderick Drummond (the dive master) was fantastic and the entire dive operation seemed to go out of their way to make sure everyone enjoyed their dives and saw...
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